Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

About the book
Against all odds,Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute PeetaMellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even.After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yetnothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance.Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of arebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may havehelped create. 

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrestshe’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s notentirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta tovisit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higherthan ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lostin their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. 

In Catching Fire, the second novelof the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of KatnissEverdeen, testing her more than ever before… and surprising readers at everyturn.

391pages (hardcover)
Publishedon: September 1, 2009
Iwasn’t quite as enamored with The HungerGames as many other people seem to be. While I found the book highlyenjoyable, and the writing was wonderful, I had issues with believability thatreally affected the book as a whole. CatchingFire, the second book in the series, was a book I was meaning to read forquite some time but never found my way around to it, until now. I wasn’texpecting much besides some measure of enjoyment and for that it delivered.While Catching Fire was stronger thanThe Hunger Games, I still foundmyself shy of reaching the level of enjoyment that many other people seem to befinding with the series.
BeforeI continue, I should say that it is nearly impossible for me to write thisreview without spoilers, so if you haven’t read this book in the series youmight want to skip reading this review. I’ll try to be vague, but it’s going tobe pretty hard to accomplish that as some of my complaints hinge on specific plot points.
Catching Fire takes place several monthsafter the events in The Hunger Games.Katniss struggles with her new role in District Twelve, and in the country as awhole. While she has gained a lot, she’s rather miserable. Winning The HungerGames has affected her relationships with nearly everyone, which seems to makeher seem rather isolated. As with the first book in the series, the overalltone of Catching Fire is incrediblydark, bordering on hopeless. Collins does a great job at setting a serious,dark tone and carrying it throughout the book. After reading the first book inthe series most readers will expect the dark tone and dismal atmosphere,however, the overwhelming sense of hopelessness might seem oppressive to some.
Catching Fire has a cleaner, more ironedout feel to it than its predecessor. Events seem to be a bit more planned outand executed nicely. The writing style is descriptive, and never redundant withthose descriptions. Collins really improved between The Hunger Games and CatchingFire. My overall reading experience with the second book was much moreenjoyable than the first. Perhaps these improvements allowed me to reallyabsorb the story fully whereas with the first book I felt more like an observerof the events than anything else.
Whilethere is plenty for readers to enjoy with CatchingFire, and in many ways I feel it is much stronger and more enjoyable then The Hunger Games, it was the plot thatactually hindered my enjoyment of the novel the most. Once I got used to theprotagonists current situation, absolutely none of the events that followedsurprised me at all. I was rather disappointed that more time wasn’t spentdiscussing Peeta and Katniss’ journey to the capitol. It seemed odd to me that,after the president put so much stress on Katniss proving her love of Peeta,that so much of that important journey was basically breezed over. Furthermore,I found myself rolling my eyes repeatedly at the second journey through theGames.
Itfelt like a stretch to me that they’d be called back to the Games in the firstplace, and even more of a stretch regarding how the characters acted toward Katnissand Peeta during those Games. Furthermore, the Games themselves lacked thebrutality and raw emotion of the Games in the first book. Once they figured outhow the arena worked, I wondered what the big deal was, as they could figureout how to stay ahead of the events. There was suddenly absolutely no tension,and if anyone in their party ended up getting injured, it was their own faultfor being dumb enough to go into an area of the arena they shouldn’t have beenin.
TheGames had a “been there, done that” feel to them. I really felt that Collinslacked some creativity by inserting them (again) into a book that could havebeen something completely new and different. Instead, the new and different wasbreezed over in favor for regurgitated events from The Hunger Games. It just didn’t work for me, and after so muchpromise in the first half of the book, and so many improvements; the secondhalf really let me down.
Allin all, Catching Fire was cleaner,better written and the plot seemed to flow naturally. However, this is alltempered by plot elements that just didn’t work. The second half of the bookfelt very tired and lacked a unique quality I was hoping to find. Someelements of the plot that could have been drawn out longer were glossed over.Thus, the natural flow of the plot was limited by awkward events that reallylacked the creative umph I was expecting from Collins. I was expecting a lot,and probably because of my high expectations, I felt really let down.

One Responses

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